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Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering


We are committed to offering our students high-quality educational and research opportunities in the rapidly evolving field of electrical engineering. Our faculty are actively engaged in research on a range of topics within electrical engineering, including interdisciplinary and highly sought after topics such as biomedical engineering and renewable energy. Our commitment to teaching and mentorship provides a solid foundation for students seeking to build careers at the highest levels of electrical engineering.

Areas of specialization

Graduate course work and research opportunities are available in a range of areas, including:

  • Signal and image processing
  • Instrumentation design
  • Communication systems design
  • Renewable energy
  • Electric power generation and distribution
  • Robotics
  • Sensor design
  • Bioelectromagnetics
  • Antenna design
  • Fuzzy logic stability analysis and control
  • Optical communications/sensors
  • Microwave integrated circuits

As a department, our larger scale research areas include various components of renewable or sustainable energy with emphases on smart grid, grid integration and wind turbine technologies.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in electrical engineering requires students to complete coursework, qualifying and comprehensive exams, and a research-based dissertation.

Qualifying exams

These exams, which are offered each year, are meant to be taken at the beginning of your Ph.D. program. The exams are designed to identify weaknesses in your electrical engineering background, and they include topics typically covered during the junior and senior year of a bachelor's degree program. Students choose to take three exams out of six areas offered:

  1. Electronics and circuits
  2. Communication
  3. Computer engineering
  4. Power systems and machines
  5. Systems and controls
  6. Electromagnetics

You can view exam outlines and sample problems on the department website.

Comprehensive exams

These exams, which are typically taken after you have completed most of your coursework, are designed to assess your ability to to conduct doctoral research in a specific topic. The exams cover advanced topics relevant to your area of specialization as well as topics included on your preliminary research proposal. You will work with your dissertation committee to structure your research proposal and identify topics to include.

You must pass these exams before you can advance to Ph.D. candidacy.


Applicants to the Ph.D. program in electrical engineering should meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Combined GRE (V + Q) scores of 301 (1100 in old system)
  • Quantitative GRE scores of 156 (720 in old system)
  • Analytical GRE score of 4/6 (3.5 in old system)
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.25
  • TOEFL: 550 (or >216 computerized or >79/120 Internet-based or IELTS > 7/9 Academic Version)

Applicants to the program who don't hold a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering must show competency in circuits and signals and systems. They can either complete a specified undergraduate course in these topics or show mastery by completing an exam. Additionally, students must demonstrate proficiency in three of the five following areas of specialization, either through coursework or an exam:

  1. Electromagnetics
  2. Electronics
  3. Computers
  4. Control
  5. Power

Exceptions to these requirements may be made for students who show excellence in one or more areas of electrical engineering. Students who do not meet admissions requirements may be admitted provided they complete a prescribed program of remedial classes.

How to Apply


Contact Graduate Program Director Banmali Rawat at

Students should apply through The Graduate School website.  Application deadlines are below.

Fall semester:

  • March 15 for international applicants
  • June 15 for U.S. applicants

Spring semester:

  • August 15 for international applicants
  • November 15 for U.S. applicants

Financial support

Doctoral students are eligible to apply for a teaching or research assistantship as well as one departmental scholarship.

Teaching assistantships are available for students with a minimum GPA of 3.3 and are awarded through the department. Research assistantships are awarded by individual faculty. Contact the department to learn more about available assistantships.

Students can also apply for The Turner Fellowship. Contact the department for application information.

Housing Options

The University offers on-campus housing for graduate students. Visit the graduate housing website to learn more about living at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Related Degrees and Programs

Contact Electrical and Biomedical Engineering

Phone (775) 784-6927
Fax (775) 784-6627
Location Scrugham Engineering and Mines
Address University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557

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